Beef Barbacoa with Pickled Red Onion and Cabbage is one of our staple recipes. It feels a little fancier than your quick everyday ground beef tacos. It does take about four hours to make on the stove but it’s totally worth it. I have included a slow cooker version too!
What kind of meat is barbacoa?
Barbacoa is actually a cooking technique that originated in the Caribbean. Generally it’s a term used for large fatty cuts of meat that have been slow cooked or steamed for long periods of time until tender. In Mexico it’s made using beef head, lamb or goat, but for this recipe we are using chuck roast.
How do you make Beef Barbacoa with Pickled Red Onion and Cabbage?
For the beef:
- Rub the chuck roast with 1 tablespoon of salt.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a dutch oven or large pot over medium high heat.
- Place the chuck roast in the hot pot and brown each side for around 7-8 minutes on medium high heat. Take the roast out of the pot and set aside.
- Add some onions and garlic to the pot, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t burn, for 2-3 minutes. If the pot is dry feel free to add another couple tablespoons of butter.
- Toss in the chili powder, cumin, paprika, coriander, dried oregano and black pepper to the pot and stir another 2 minutes to toast the spices, then mix in the tomato paste.
- Pour in one beer (optional), let it reduce for about 5 minutes and add the broth and chuck roast back into the pot.
- Bring everything up to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid.
- Simmer for 3 ½ – 4 hours until the chuck roast pulls apart easily.
For the Onions and Cabbage:
- Bring some water, vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil in a medium pot.
- Place sliced onions and red cabbage in separate heat safe jars.
- Pour the hot liquid over the onions and cabbage and let cool for at least 30 minutes.
- Store in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.
Can you make this recipe in a slow cooker?
Yes. You would just add all the ingredients to the slow cooker, and cook on high for 3 1/2 – 4 hours until the chuck roast pulls apart easily.
We noticed a huge difference in flavor when you cook it on the stove top verse the slow cooker. On the stove top you are able to brown the meat and build the flavors leading to a more delicious end result. However, if you need a quick and easy weeknight dinner, the slow cooker is definitely the way to go.
What are some good beef barbacoa toppings?
Traditionally barbacoa is served with raw onion, cilantro, and sometimes salsa verde on a warm corn tortilla. Just to add a little zing I like to serve mine with pickeled red onion, some pickled cabbage, cilantro and lime.
I would skip the cheese on these tacos (which is saying a lot because I LOVE cheese), but if you must cotija would be the way to go.
What to serve with beef barbacoa?
To keep things light, some roasted peppers, cauliflower or other vegetable are a nice compliment to the rich beef flavors. Some simple yellow rice and beans are also delicious. To be honest, we usually skip the sides and just eat the tacos.
If you love this recipe, I would love to know! You can rate it, leave a comment, or both! I love hearing from you. Also, you could tag a photo on Instagram @hungrywaitress and I’ll be sure to share it!Print